Faced with supporting the free speech of its users or the control-grabbing antics of government, Facebook is making no secret of where its sympathies lie.
The highly controlled Internet-within-an-Internet social media network says it will consult with state governments on their lockdown orders and actually remove pages planning anti-quarantine protests if it determines the gatherings violate those rules.
Kind of like the police.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook,” a spokesperson said on the social network’s policy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Facebook officials said they contacted states individually to discuss their lockdown orders and edited out posts that broke those rules.
“We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook. We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mailonline.
The social network said it has already deleted protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska.
The move has been met with outrage from Donald Trump Jr. and Republican figures like Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who say Facebook is violating Americans’ First Amendment rights. “Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash people’s free speech? Regardless of what you think about the lockdowns or the protests against them, this is a chilling & disturbing government directed shutdown of peoples First Amendment rights. Very dangerous!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on April 20